One of the first and most important steps of any new business is finding the perfect name for your West Virginia LLC.
Checking the LLC name availability in West Virginia is an important step in the business formation process. It ensures your business name is distinguishable from the names of other West Virginia businesses so that you do not violate anyone’s intellectual property rights.
Our West Virginia LLC Name Search guide will show you how you can find available business names in West Virginia, and how to reserve and register your business name.
How to Search for a West Virginia LLC Name
Below are the four steps that you need to follow in order to conduct an LLC name search in West Virginia.
Step 1: Follow the West Virginia LLC Naming Guidelines
In order to secure a name for your LLC you’ll need to meet all the naming guidelines that have been set by the West Virginia Secretary of State. Below are all the requirements:
- The business name must include the phrase “limited liability” or any of its abbreviations including “LLC” or “L.L.C.”
- The name must not be similar to or resemble a government agency like the Treasury, State Department, or FBI.
- There are certain words like “bank” or “university” that will require additional paperwork as well as a licensed individual in order to be used.
Selecting a name is just one of the several requirements when forming an LLC. To avoid improper or incomplete LLC formation documents, we recommend using the assistance of an LLC formation service.
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Step 2: Look Up West Virginia LLC Name Search Availability
The next step is to conduct a West Virginia LLC name search. Below are a few ways to do a business name search in West Virginia.
- LLC Name Search: Search the West Virginia Business Organization Search tool. You may also try typing your business or trademark on any search engine to check businesses with similar names. This will also ensure your trademark is unique, meets the state’s requirements, and frees you from any legal hassles in the future.
- Domain Name Search: If your business name is still available, you must register for a domain name. Having a URL that matches your business name is important since this is how your potential and existing clients can find your business.
To determine the availability of your chosen URL, use a domain registrar, such as GoDaddy.
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Note: While you can use social media to search for business names to determine your desired name, the search results might not give you useful insight if your desired business name is available and exclusive for use.
Step 3: Reserve Your West Virginia LLC Name
To secure your name before registering it, your company will need to file for a name reservation. The name reservation legally holds the name of your company while you gather the requirements needed for registration.
The reservation is good in West Virginia for up to 120 days, although your business will have to file the paperwork manually. There is currently no option for reserving a name online.
There is a $15 filing fee associated with a name reservation that is due when applying.
Using a West Virginia DBA for Your LLC
In the state of West Virginia, a DBA (doing business as) is also known as a trade name and the terms are used interchangeably. The purpose of filing for a DBA is to go by a different name other than the business’s legally registered LLC name.
You need to search the West Virginia Secretary of State website, just like you did with the LLC name, to ensure no other business has already used it. You can file for a DBA online or with a paper form and there is a $25 filing fee due at the time of applying. Extra fees will apply for expedited processing.
LLC owners sometimes choose to brand their businesses with a DBA. Most sole proprietors and general partnerships use a DBA to create a brand other than their surnames.
Step 4: Register a West Virginia LLC Trade or Service Mark
Before officially applying for a trade or service mark for your business, you’ll need to ensure no one has already claimed it. Search through the federal trademark database and you’ll see all the names already marked and be able to determine availability.
Only after your business has already checked the availability of your LLC and registered it will you be able to file for a trade or service mark.
Companies choose to register for a mark because it legally protects any business assets including your name, logos, and slogans. Any company that infringes upon your trade or service mark is subject to legal repercussions.
Check for all trade and service marks using the West Virginia Secretary of State search tool. You will need to fill out and file the Trademark Application form along with a $50 filing fee due at the time of applying.
Registering a trade or service mark is not the same as filing a formation document. If you’re registering a business in West Virginia, check out the steps on how to form a West Virginia LLC.
West Virginia Secretary of State Contact Information
One Stop Business Center
13 Kanawha Blvd. W, Suite 201
Charleston, WV 25302
State Capitol Complex
1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Bldg. 1, Ste. 157-K
Charleston, WV 25305
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Phone: (304) 558-8000
West Virginia LLC Name Search FAQ
Why do I need to do a West Virginia LLC name search?
When forming a West Virginia LLC, you will be required to choose a name. This name must be unique and available for use, and should not already be registered with the West Virginia Secretary of State. To search for available LLC names, you can use the West Virginia Business Organization Search tool on the Secretary of State website.
How do I check if an LLC name is taken in West Virginia?
You can use the West Virginia Business Organization Search tool to check if your business name is available. You may also contact the West Virginia Secretary of State via phone at (304) 558-8000 or email at Business@wvsos.gov for assistance on how to perform a West Virginia LLC name search.
Can I renew a West Virginia LLC name reservation?
No, you cannot renew a name reservation in West Virginia. Once the original 120 days are concluded your reservation is expired.
Is the West Virginia Secretary of State LLC name search tool free to use?
Yes. You can use the West Virginia Business Organization Search tool to find a name for your LLC for free. The tool even includes tips for better search results.